Tag Archives: cycling

My Journey from Fat to Fast – Cycling and Health


1 month ago I resolved to dramatically improve my health, fitness, and ultimately to compete in a cycling race… and then I got a very, very bad flu (or covid). So, I had to wait three weeks to get started.

10 days ago I started… by getting up every morning at 5:30am and working out. I’ve been improving, learning, improving, learning and I’m feeling so great about my progress… even though I’m still just catching up to where I was before getting sick.

You can follow my journey on YouTube on my From Fat to Fast playlist. I publish something daily and I’m always happy for likes, subscribes and shares!

Let me know if you have any feedback too; I’m hoping this becomes a great reference for others who are like me: technically obese, looking at the beginnings of bad medical tests and results, and hoping to avoid the really bad stuff: diabetes, heart disease or stroke.

FB: Addiction to Food

Just finished my second indoor cycling session of the new year. I really need to realize that the high I get from exercise needs to replace the high I get from food… not supplement it!

20 virtual km, set a couple personal records, and loving my new setup.

Anyone else on Zwift? That’s the software I’m using to connect to my smart trainer and track all my activity.

(originally posted on Facebook here)

Specialized Allez Elite circa 1999-ish

Cycling – I Love It!

At the beginning of June I added cycling to my fitness efforts. I’ve been going out usually 3 or 4 times a week to do a route. At the beginning of June I did a 7.14km route that is basically a big loop around the city block my house is part of. My pace was 14km/h for the route. In other words, it took me a little over 30 minutes to do the loop. I decided that as a goal I would do a double loop (14.28km) with a pace of 20km/h or better by the end of July.

Well, tonight with the help of good equipment, I did it.

So, I had been using my mountain bike with road tires on it as my “normal” bike. Partly because my belly is big and it’s more comfortable to ride. But tonight, at the suggestion of a long-time friend who also cycles, Jim Warder, I decided to take out my road bike. It’s a Specialized Allez from the late 90’s with a few minor upgrades. See the pic above. I love this bike!

I’m always a bit surprised by how light it is. It has an aluminum frame and pretty good components. And riding it is a dream. The fit for me is perfect. Except for that darn belly that I have now that makes using the drop handlebars impossibly uncomfortable. But I guess that’s what I’m working to change!

Anyway, I started my ride this evening just thinking that I’d take it easy, do one loop and not worry about my time. The route starts with a nice downhill for about 1km and then has a steeper uphill climb for about 500m. On the climb I didn’t push too hard, but I got my gearing to be about the same as I had it on my mountain bike. I felt kinda tired from my ride yesterday. I didn’t expect much for time or pace.

However, once I passed the steep uphill portion, I started to warm up and my pace picked up a lot. I have a bike computer on this bike so I was constantly seeing that my speed was up in the 22 to 25km/h range on the flats. That made me hopeful. By time I was on the last 2km, I was pushing lightly and keeping my speed up at 24km/h+.

The last segment of my ride is a monster valley… down is great! Up is torture (and further than the down). I got up to 45km/h going down into the valley, and really pushed going up… but when I shifted down on my front chainring, I skipped my middle gear and spun my cranks… which totally wrecked my pace. I fixed my gearing but my last 100m up the hill was really slow – 11km/h.

Once I got to the top, though, I decided – heck! – I can go around again. I checked my average speed so far and it was 21.8km/h – WOOT! I could take it pretty easy on the second loop and maybe even get to my end of July goal! So, I went for it. But did I relax? Nope. I kept pushing it.

Admittedly, I couldn’t quite keep the same pace but things went smoother overall. No glitches on my shifting. I powered up that final hill, and coasted the last 200m to my house. Checked my pace: 21.4km/h for 14.28km!!!! I beat my goal by a huge margin!

I blame it on my bike. 🙂

Food and Weight Day 19 – 104.2kg

The past few days have been busy, stressful and low-sleep day’s so I’m surprised that I haven’t gained a bunch of weight. Yesterday I did manage some cycling despite skipping class. And last night I had a nice long sleep which helps with stress levels. I’ve got a busy weekend so hopefully I can keep up with a semblance of good eating. I’ve been increasing my meat, dairy and vegetable consumption and reducing (slightly) my sugar and starch consumption.

Food and Weight Day 10 – 104.2kg

I’ve discovered a simple and delicious alternative to wheat/sugar-filled sandwiches: lettuce wraps. Now this might not be earth-shaking to many of you further along this path than I, but it’s new to me. I make a lettuce wrap with ham, cheese, and artichoke hearts (or something similarly flavorful), and no sauces and it’s great!!! Filling and perfect after a bike ride to school. An apple rounds it out as a meal.

Sabbatical Day 38 – Thanksgiving, 3d Printing

Today we had my mom Valerie and stepdad Rob over for Thanksgiving dinner.  Justice, though not eating, sat with us so it was the whole family.  It’s been a few years since we’ve done that.  It was a really good meal.  Mom and Rob brought pumpkin pies and a nice salad.  Melanie made the turkey, stuffing and peas.  I made two versions of mashed potatoes and the gravy.  It was a huge meal and it was delicious!!!  We didn’t think to take any photos, unfortunately.  It was a hot day so the house was very warm – we’ve turned off the AC for the winter.  Even now at near midnight I’m sweating sitting in the basement which is normally quite cool.  The combination of a hot day with a looooong oven session for the turkey is probably why it’s so hot.  We had a very nice visit.  I’m thankful for my beautiful family.

Recently Rob posted something provocative on Facebook about sex ethics.  I found the discussion to be interesting, informative and quite insightful on the part of almost everyone who participated.  I’m grateful to all my friends and their diverse views.

Over this weekend, I’ve completed work on an insta-project: to create a fender for my road bike so that I can ride it in wet weather.  I used my Solidoodle 2 (ancient) 3d printer.  here are some photos and some files if anyone wants to work on making their own.  You can click on the photos to see the full-size photograph if  you want to see the details.

The construction is fairly simple: there are five pieces glued together.  From left to right in the photo I have called these pieces “Tail”, “Extender” x2, “Adapter” and “Anchor”.  Here are the OpenSCAD files that show the design of each piece:

Adapter Anchor Extender Tail

Here is the latest on my kanban board.  Note: the only thing that has changed ( not good ) is the new project I did which is in the done column.

Sabbatical Day 31 – Cycling

Yesterday, Sunday, I went cycling with Verity again.  She needed to get a new sketchbook at Curry’s.  And today I rode to the Mountain Equipment Co-op to pick up my road bike and leave my mountain bike for tune-ups.  My road bike is like new and a dream to ride.  It’s an old Specialized Allez Elite from the late 90’s.  It has an aluminum frame and beautifully thin racing tires.  It’s pretty light (although nowadays you can get a lot lighter) and stiff and quick.  I put new pedals on it that work well with me wearing runners with soft soles. I’m going to ride it to school tomorrow.

Specialized Allez Elite circa 1999-ish

At the Mountain Equipment Co-op, on of the people helping me with my bikes was a guy named Michael.  Turns out his kids also go to the Waldorf school where Ocean attends.  We chatted a bit about that – I’ll definitely be seeing him around!

It’s a little belated (I mean to post these on Saturdays or Sundays), but here’s an update of the personal Kanban board.  Not too much has changed but the pottery class is now in progress.  I’m actually a bit over my WIP limit so I have to try finish a couple things this week.  Haifa and I are going to do a couple days of driving practice and then she will schedule her mock test and real road test!  I’d really like to get Jerry’s book out the door this month too.

20181001 Personal Kanban Board

Sabbatical Day 13 – Apple Watch Series 4

Well, yesterday Apple announced the new Series 4 watch.  Two big disappointments for me: no ceramic version, and Canada won’t get the EKG feature (at least not in any specified time).  Darn it!  I was really hoping to get a new one, but I really don’t see the point of doing so without those two things.  I have the Series 2 ceramic Apple Watch, and I love it.  So I’ll wait some more and maybe start looking for another vendor for my next fashion/fitness/tech accessory.

Today I cycled to school again.  I love the exercise – and while I’m in better shape than I used to be, I’m still not in “good” shape for cycling.  It’s an 8.5km ride each way and it takes me about 30 minutes.  Lots of hills.  There’s a segment on city streets.  This morning I left at the same time as Verity so that we could travel together for that segment.  Then there’s a bunch of walking/cycle paths along the Thames river valley.  It’s a lovely start to the morning.  The only thing is that I get _really_ sweaty!!  After I cycled home, I jumped in the pool – without looking at the temperature – and it was freezing!!!  I could only do 6 lengths before I had to get out because of the cold.  I’m not sure of the temperature, but I’m guessing it was somewhere between 15 C and 18 C.  Not dangerous, but super uncomfortable!

One of my in-progress projects is to help Haifa with her driving and preparing for her road test. Today we went out for about half an hour to practice parallel parking and three point turns.  She made great progress, but I started getting super tired.  I think I ate something that didn’t agree with me and so we ended a bit sooner than I expected.  Then I took a 4 hour nap!  I’m likely to be up late tonight.  Anyway, I suspect that my dad’s garlic allergy is affecting me.  I have to try avoiding garlic to see if that is the case.

Tonight I’m doing my first official homework assignment for school.  It’s a sheet of six questions adapted from the textbook for Math 2155.  Here are a couple example questions:

Rewrite the following English statements as logical statements. (a) John and Bill are both telling the truth or neither of them is.

Make truth tables for the following formulas: (a) ¬[P∧(Q∨¬P)]

Honestly, it feels a bit like busy-work for me.  My computer science degree covered all this stuff in depth, and even worse, I got into this stuff as a kid somewhere around grade 7 or 8 so I’ve been doing logic and truth tables like, forever!  Anyway, I’ll get it done quickly and hopefully I won’t make any stupid errors.  That’s my most common problem with math.  I’ll let all y’all know when I get my grades.  Here’s hoping for 100% on my first assignment…  Incidentally, Verity is struggling with the same problem with her math in grade 9 – it’s super easy, boring review.  I feel for her.